If you have a Mac you will want to get the fastest possible speed out of it. There are a couple of tips and tricks which you can employ to get the most out your Macinstosh and make it into a speed daemon. Although this post wont enable you to make your Mac magically a hundreds times faster, it will enable you to complete tasks just that little bit quicker. A few of theses tips you wont notice the difference in, but with some tips it could enable your Mac to start up, for example, considerably quicker. I have used most of these tips and I have seen a big improvement.
Probably the biggest gain in speed will be to upgrade your memory. A computer running on 2Gb of RAM compared to 1Gb of RAM will be noticeably quicker. This is because the computer doesn’t have to keep swapping applications in and out of your Hard Drive. Personally I think most Mac’s should have 2Gb of RAM to keep it up to speed, as well as nice and quick. RAM doesn’t cost that much, £25 for 2Gb for a MacBook Pro is very good.
Having lots of RAM is one thing. Having working RAM is another. A cool little application is Rember, it is a small application based on memtest, that is designed to write and read to your RAM. If you have RAM with bad blocks it can cause applications to freeze and slow down. Simply because it can’t use them. If you have tip top RAM you can get your Mac running at top speed.
As well as RAM, and if you have the cash, you could also consider an SSD hard drive. A solid state disk is similar to one big block of RAM. It is in the new MacBook Air’s. They are designed to give you quicker access times as well as more battery life in laptops. SSD are quicker than hard drives since you are not waiting for the drive heads to find the right sector of the disk. You get your data almost immediately. Speeding up your computer.
Probably the biggest save in speed will come from the applications you are running. The biggest save can come from running universal apps if you have an Intel Mac. Although the majority of applications are universal apps, some notable exceptions are Word. Having a PPC app is similar to telling some exactly how to drive when you want to go to work. It slows down your computer. Changing to Intel apps enables you to speed up your computer.
Another way to speed up your applications and to make your Mac into a speed daemon is to make sure your applications are regularly updated. Old applications could have bugs in them that make them appear sluggish. A fully updated Mac enables the applications to run at their full potential.
Another applications tip is to check your login items. Every so often an application may put its self into the login items box in your System Preferences. This means that the application will load every time your start your Mac, adding seconds to your start up time. To remove and checks apps go into the Accounts option in System Preferences.
Applications may cause problems even if they are up to date and are Intel binaries. Some problems occur due to caches. Although caches are designed to make your Mac as fast as possible, they do from time to time become large, bloated and corrupt. The problems with this is that apps are trying to read this cache files but are encountering errors. You need to delete your caches. This is done from, in Finder, /Users/[name]/Library/Caches. Simply delete all of them or the single apps that you think are causing you trouble.
Another top speed tip is to check Disk Permissions and Disk Health. If you pop open Disk Utilities under /Applications/Utilities you can run both of the programs. Disk Permissions is designed to make sure the correct applications and files have the correct permissions. Disk Health is to make sure your hard drive runs as well as possible. As well as this it also make sure it find and secures any corrupt disk sectors.
Although many aspects of you Mac sit away until they are needed some applications in particular do run even though you don’t actually run them yourself. Quite a few programs I use add daemons to the running process list even though I don’t start them up. By uninstalling apps you never run, you could save yourself both disk space and the chance that you uninstall an application that may secretly run in the background.
On the same line as applications, another one to check out is the Menu Bar. Recently I mentioned about the Must Have Menu Bar Applications, although some of theses applications you should install having to many will take up both RAM and CPU. Uninstalling the ones you don’t use will speed up your Macintosh just that little bit.
Another quick speed boost will be to disable the Dashboard. Although dashboard doesn’t run until you open it. If you do open it, it then becomes difficult to close it once as it is open. The best method I have found is to disable it through Terminal. You can find out how to do this in Top 50 Terminal Apps, its number 13.
There is one final step you could complete to really give your Mac a speed boost and that will be to start again. Although re-installing your OS is a bit extreme you could create a new account. This will set all of you defaults back to normal, reset caches and anything hidden away. You just have to copy across your files and you can start a fresh. This is very good if you have clogged up your account so much but you think it will take to long to go through every application and find out what is wrong with it.
These are only a couple of my tips that I use regularly (expect the last one, and buying more RAM). If you have any more please leave a comment below. I would love to find out what you do and how it effects your computer. I would also recommend you checking out MainMenu, it does some of the tasks stated such as clearing caches for you. It is very useful.
Admittely these tips wont make your Mac a million times faster. But every little helps. As well as this most of the tasks don’t take long to complete. If you have any more to add please leave one below.